philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


SXSW offers glimpse at future of virtual, augmented reality

And this year’s fest offered another year of its “Virtual reality/Augmented reality/Mixed reality” track, offering badge holders three days of panels featuring technology experts.

One of the most popular projects — and the longest wait time — was for “Mars Home Planet,” where viewers in VR goggles sat in 360-degree rotating plush, red pods. The story, directed by Technicolor Experience Center’s Brian Frager and David Witters, takes viewers through a Martian onboarding center that imagines what Mars would be like if it were inhabited by humans.

Other projects, like “Border Stories,” brought users to the frontline of political debates. The experience, directed by Emblematic Group founder Nonny de La Pena, dropped viewers off at the National Butterfly Center along the U.S.-Mexico border to listen to interviews with people who could be affected by President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

Nearby, international consulting giant Accenture hosted its SXSW “Experience Cantina” with three floors of seemingly endless opportunities to try out virtual reality. Users could test Porsche’s 911 model with VR headsets. Other experiences included opportunities to see how the technology can be used for retail, work and play.

One keynote session featured Jessica Brillhart, a filmmaker and VR/AR expert, who noted that headsets haven’t taken off because they’re clunky, hard to use and not in their final form.

“The systems in place are trying to keep something contained that should be constantly evolving,” she said. “Immersive cannot be contained. What we should fear the most isn’t disruption, it’s thinking things will always stay the same. No matter what the old guard says, our generation gets this stuff.”

In a session dubbed “Making VR and AR for Television,” panelists agreed that the technologies have a ways to go -- but when they work, they can pull viewers into a new experience without distractions.

Eric Darnell, chief creative officer and co-founder of Baobab Studios, said mixed reality should focus on producing creative and interesting content for viewers and the technology will get better over time.

The ethics of VR

Other panels in the VR/AR/MR track delved into the ethics of the new technology.

Erickson, the engineering lead for virtual reality experiences at High Fidelity Inc., said she expects there will be solutions to privacy in VR “as the industry starts to mature.”

“I think people are hesitant to hop into this space because they don’t know what it’s going to be,” Erickson said. “It needs to be accessible... and it needs to be safe and private, too.”

See the full story here:

Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Trackbacks are disabled.